since a young girl, i’ve always been drawn to a timeless, classic style. tailored clothes with structure suit me and my personality. it’s who i am – steady, sure, concise, straight-forward, polished, determined, and honest to a fault. if you ask for my opinion, you’ll get just that no mincing words with this girl. although i’ve learned the art of diplomacy through the years. it’s never helpful to mow people down with words when we can be honest and uplifting. trust me. photos of me live on social media channels, and i’ve been sliced and diced a thousand different ways. but the trouble with classic, timeless clothes is it can look dated and boring, even stuffy if you’re not careful. so how do you keep timeless classic style working for you year in and year out? today, i’ll share a few secrets with you.
hair and makeup
if you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a thousand times – your hair is your number one accessory. it isn’t your hair color that ages you; it’s your haircut. love blonde hair? then keep it blonde. how about a bold shade of red? or if you’re like me and embrace your natural grays, then go for it! especially if it suits your personality. but we’ve all seen blondes, redheads, and silver locks trapped in a dated haircut. keeping your hair current and fresh (yes, it should change to a degree over the years) will keep your timeless, classic outfits updated. so what does your hairstyle say about you?
makeup trends come and go. anyone remember the seventies and our crush on bronzer? who didn’t want that sun-kissed glow? eyebrows were plucked into a thin line. popular eyeshadow colors were blue, green, and purple. and we loved a smokey eye.
the eighties came along with big hair and bold makeup that was on your face. there was nothing sweet or delicate about that decade; it was all about power. and most of us would love to forget our bad fashion sense that erred on the side of outrageous. ’nuff said.
the nineties introduced scrunchies, glossy lips, and crimped hair. eyebrows were back to being plucked and skinny (btw i’m still waiting for mine to grow back from the seventies trend of over plucking). our updo’s loved tendrils and butterfly clips. and if you can believe it, blue eyeshadow was still in vogue…
at the dawn of a new century, chunky highlights were all the rage, short spiky hair and zig-zag parts. and we loved fake tans and fake nails! perhaps we still do… as you can see trends come and go not only with clothes but with hair and makeup. it’s important to stay abreast of what’s currently in style. fresh makeup and hair trends are what keeps my classic pencil skirt and blazer from looking dated. so keep your makeup updated. no one wants to be stuck in another decade.
there are some handbags and scarves sitting in my closet that i’ve had for at least twenty years or longer. TWENTY YEARS! that’s the beauty of a classic wardrobe. but how do i keep those items current rather than dated? it’s as simple as adding trendy accessories. my favorite ways to do this is with shoes, jewelry, and handbags. and, yes, even accessories can be classic in nature, like a string of pearls, pointy-toed pumps, or a structured handbag that never goes out of style. but we all know that shoes go through trends – heel shape, toe shape, heel heights, and colors come and go. jewelry shifts from soft and delicate to bold statement necklaces and back again. metals are always popular, but years ago, we would never mix gold with silver. now we do. these days smaller handbags are all the rage, whereas a few years ago, bigger was definitely better.
the devil is in the details, and the details will update your classic wardrobe. mixing and matching trends with your classic pieces are the secret to a successful outfit. want to wear classic jewelry and shoes? pair them with a top or skirt that is currently on-trend. or maybe you’re in the mood for a timeless tweed jacket? then wear it with a fresh and modern handbag and sassy booties. if every single item you wear is classic and timeless, then you risk being frozen in time. by adding a few trendy items here and there, your classic look will look edgy instead of stodgy. one trendy item per outfit may be all you need to stay current, and that’s when trends can be your friend.
stay true to your signature style
yes, stay true to your personal style. so many times through the years people who know my style say “that is so you!” my mother was so good at identifying items that were quintessential me. mr. style was darn good at it too. but don’t let your signature style go stale. let your style evolve and keep up with the current trends. just don’t let the trends sway you too much. stay selective on which trends you choose to adopt. that’s what i do. neutrals will always have a place in my closet. black, navy, white, and brown are the workhorses in my wardrobe. but i love bold colors and throw in pops of reds, pinks, yellows, and greens every chance i get especially during the warm summer months. sheath dresses, blazers, pencil skirts, cardigans, pointy-toed flats, and riding boots are classics that have true staying power. all of them are on my ‘must-have’ classic list. but mules, flatmores, and slides are seen everywhere this year and i kind of like them. over the knee boots are to die for. wide-legged pants are popular as are slouchy pants. how about sheer and gauzy fabric? distressed jeans or a summer suit? but i don’t worry about being ‘too trendy’ when my outfit is anchored with at least one classic item. and don’t forget to throw in texture from time to time. a leather skirt looks fabulous and fresh with a tweed blazer. animal print? it’s classic and edgy mixed together. and stripes? they’re always a good choice no matter what decade.
Well said and a good reminder for all of us who love classic, tailored style. We need to occasionally step back take an objective look to avoid falling into what I call the “mumsy” trap! Thanks for this post!
Love your advice–and the fact that you are currently living in a hot humid climate and always include advice for making a classic wardrobe less formal. I’m here in South Florida where the dressing and climate is (ahem) different.
Can you discuss prints? I’m a monochromatic fan, but that’s getting old. I’m 68 so I don’t want to look too silly. Thanks, Anne
You look gorgeous! Your advice regarding classic pieces with pops of color is spot on. I too, love a pointed toe flat!
Yet another helpful post! You’re the female Ralph Lauren. Awesome.
You’re right about the hair. My choices are limited due to my thick, wavy hair and multiple whorls to make it fun. When I ask for a short pixie cut, stylists do not want to cut it that way. I convinced one to take it super short, my eight-week pandemic lockdown haircut. Compliments galore from people I know and barely know! It might take some convincing because stylists don’t see women of a certain age in certain hairstyles. My next excuse will be, “I’ll be travelling, so I don’t know when I’ll get my hair cut next.” I won’t be travelling, but short hair suits me. So what if I have a few smile lines around my eyes, and people notice them?
I’ve never written anyone on line,nor followed anyone, but I’d like to thank you for the time and energy you put into this site. I’ve been a full time registered nurse for over 41 years, a mom of 4 and Nana to 5 ❤️. I’ve recently slowed down at work to help my family more and having worn scrubs all my life, was at odds with how to dress. You have helped me so very much, I’m thankful beyond words…please know that you are touching lives and making a difference.God bless you..love from northern Ontario in Canada (Timmins)
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